Guest Author - Sonya L. Wilson
The holiday season is upon us and as Christmas decorations go up everywhere, many Christmas and Kwanzaa books are decorating the shelves at your local bookstore. Kwanzaa, the popular African-American holiday that begins the day after Christmas, is the topic of many books including books for children. There is also a lot of information on the holiday on the internet.
One of the most recent books published on Kwanzaa is “Celebrate Kwanzaa”. Kwanzaa means “first fruits” of the harvest and the colors associated with the holiday are red and green. Celebrate Kwanzaa is part of a book series called “Holidays Around the World” Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that is celebrated in schools, in communities and by families across the U.S. “Celebrate Kwanzaa” tells us the story of the holiday through lovely pictures and entertaining text. The book celebrates the culture of African Americans and helps build a greater understanding of this special and unique holiday.
When reading “Celebrate Kwanzaa”, the reader learns that for seven days, African American families get together and light candles that celebrate unity, the past and the future. Kwanzaa also involve gatherings where there is a lot of dancing and music. Appetizing food is also shared and simple homemade gifts are exchanged.
Those who read the book will be introduced to Kwanzaa holiday symbols. These symbols are a special placemat called the mkeka, a candleholder called a kinara, and a unity cup called the kikombe cha umoja. In “Celebrate Kwanzaa”, the Kwanzaa principles are explained. The seven principals of Kwanzaa are Umoja—Unity, Kujichagulia—Self determination, Ujima—Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa—Cooperative Economic, Nia—Purpose, Kuumba—Creativity, and Imani—Faith. A wonderful aspect of the book is the notes that are aimed at teachers and parents that discuss the historical and cultural perspective of the holiday.
When reading this book, children and parents will be entertained by beautiful photographs and directions on how to create Kwanzaa crafts such as African rain sticks. There are also various recipes for the family to enjoy.
Another very good thing about “Celebrating Kwanzaa” is that the book includes a list of websites where families can learn more about Kwanzaa and a list of books that further explain the Kwanzaa holiday and the traditions connected to it. There is also a glossary in the book to help pronounced some words associated with the holiday.
The holidays are a special time for families and for those who will be celebrating Kwanzaa, “Celebrating Kwanzaa” along with many other books will help make Kwanzaa 2008 a fun and memorable one.